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Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Tips for Relief

Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Tips for Relief

Back pain can be brutal, and if you’re pregnant there aren’t many pain medications you can take to ease your pain. There are many causes for your pain that are directly related to your pregnancy. Your growing baby can pull on the muscles and tendons, the extra weight can be a stress, as well as throw your center of gravity off. What can you do to help alleviate the tension and back pain during pregnancy? My fiancee, who is currently pregnant, enjoys hot baths to alleviate the pain. Cold can help too, so put an ice pack on the affected area. Acetaminophen in low doses may be safe but you should always consult a doctor about taking it first. Your hormones are going crazy right now, which can cause a great deal of pain on its own. If you add in the fact that the life you’re carrying is growing exponentially you can expect the kind of pain that you won’t soon forget. Did I mention that you can’t take pain medication? If you’ve looked everywhere for relief look no further.

Tips for relief

There are other ways to help soothe your pregnancy woes than dangerous drugs. Holistic approaches such as acupuncture are viable options. More proven methods, like chiropractors in extreme cases, would fix any alignment issues or correct posture problems that result from carrying the extra load. You’re almost there! Unless you had back problems before you got pregnant, the symptoms are likely to lessen before giving birth. After the pregnancy they should desist entirely.

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I’ve always found that deep breathing helps clear your mind of all the troubles of the world; meditation can take your mind off pain. You’ll want to get in the most comfortable seated position possible. Start with your toes and focus on relaxing that one part of the body. Once your toes are relaxed, work your way up the legs. Then you can begin to relax all the muscles in your torso, but remember to keep breathing deep. Concentrate on relaxing your arms and then your neck and head. If this doesn’t help you take your mind off the pain, try some stretching that focuses on the back. This Pinterest page on Prenatal Yoga has some ideas that would help you if you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy.

Lower back stretch

Lying on your back, stretch your arms and legs out so that you look like a pregnant gingerbread woman, or a child making snow angels. Take your right leg and move it to the left, over your other leg while keeping both shoulders on the ground. You should ease into it and move your left leg back so that your legs are in opposite positions now. You may not be able to get your right leg to the floor but this will help your lower back. Do it for both legs to help that sore lower back.

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Upper back stretch

This one you can do seated. Start by taking your left leg and pointing it straight forward while keeping it on the ground. Your right leg should go over that one so that your right foot is on the left of your left knee. Now take your left arm and rest it on your right knee, that should be used to help you stretch your back to the right. Go slow, don’t over extend yourself too much. If you are able to face your right side perpendicularly to your left leg this will help stretch you upper back. And if you’re looking for more of a mid-back stretch, a downward dog position should be effective. Just make sure to practice these so that you’ll become more limber and the pain will lessen.

Being pregnant takes a lot of energy, so make sure to get enough rest. You should however, try sleeping in different positions to see which one hurts your back less. Most people find lying on their side will help but you may be different. Stretching just before bed with help you sleep more comfortably and wake up with less soreness or pain.

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If you have someone who is willing to or want to spend the money on a masseuse, a thorough back massage will also lessen some tension. Or you might also try having an orgasm, which releases endorphins that block pain signals–however you arrive there. Heating pads are easy to use. There are electric kinds and ones that you heat up in a microwave. A simple DIY heating pad is to put a few cups of rice in a sock. Tie it off at the end and pop it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Nothing sounds more relaxing than an oil massage with hot rocks, just remember to use the oven for those. Don’t overcook your rocks, and when you’re lying down for your partner to give you a massage you will need to use pillows to make sure there is no weight on your baby. Light some candles or use an aromatic scent and let them caress the pain out of you.

Warning!

The most important thing to remember is that if the pain becomes too severe you need to go to a doctor. Sudden and severe back pain could mean a serious problem. If your pain is coming in waves it could be contractions. You might be going into preterm labor. You should go to a hospital or see a doctor immediately.

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Breathe easier

Now that you’ve curbed your back pain you can feel better about yourself and your baby. They might be causing you some pain but they will be here soon, and as you greet them and usher them into their new world they will bring you enough joy to make you forget all your worries (and pregnancy pains). Should you decide to have another, remember what has worked for you this time. Many pregnancies are different. Subsequent children may be more trouble to carry than the last, or easier. These tips can help you throughout the journey to building your family.

One more thing. Though your body is growing to help make room for your baby know that you are still as beautiful as the day you conceived, if not more. Whatever stress you are holding onto should be let go. The stress hormones in your body are shared with your baby, and lower back pain is related to those stress hormones. Whatever you can do to relax and have a happy pregnancy will not only help you but you your baby as well.

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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